Six rescued ocelots have been released into the wild in Ecuador, the environment ministry said on Saturday. The medium-sized wild cats were saved from wildlife traffickers.
The female ocelots were released in the Cotacachi Cayapas Reserve near the border with Colombia, the ministry said in a statement. They had been rehabilitated for a year. The animals got microchips to identify them in the future.
The animals were released “in an area where humans have no contact with them and where they can live in their habitat and develop freely,” according to Placido Palacios, director of the James Brown Rescue Center, where the animals were rehabilitated.
Wildlife trafficking is punishable with up to three years in prison in Ecuador. More than 6,000 wild animals have been rescued from the trade over the past seven years, according to figures from the country’s environment ministry.
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